Ghana has reopened its land and sea borders after a two-year closure as it lifted some coronavirus restrictions in an attempt to bolster a flagging economy.
President Nana Akufo-Addo announced on Sunday night that the wearing of masks in the West African country is no longer mandatory as active Covid-19 cases drop below 100.
Aiko-Addo also added that outdoor functions can resume at full capacity as long as all persons are fully vaccinated. From Monday, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to take Covid tests to enter the country.
“It has been a difficult two years for all of us, and we are seeing light at the end of a very long tunnel. I assure you that, sooner rather than later, our economy will rebound from the ravages of Covid-19,” President Akufo-Addo.
Ghanaians living in border communities who usually trade with neighbours in Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Togo applauded the decision, saying it will bring life back to their areas.
Like most economies in Africa, Ghana’s economy has been pummeled by the pandemic coupled with the current world issues such as the Russia-Ukraine war. A report by Bloomberg noted that the overall financial health has yet to bounce back due to an increase in its budget deficit and debt levels.
Recent data published by the Bank of Ghana indicate the country’s debt to GDP ratio was 80.1 per cent at the end of December 2021, with the cost of living recently shooting up backed by rising fuel prices as a result of the Ukraine crisis.
The president and his ministers recently cut their wages by 30 per cent along with other measures they hope will help generate $400 million in savings for state coffers.
According to the Ghana Health Service, the West African country has vaccinated 13 million people with one dose and five million — 16 per cent of the population — have been fully vaccinated.
The West African bloc ECOWAS agreed to re-open land borders around January this year after noting the group’s economies lost $50 billion or 6.7 per cent of their cumulative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2020 and 2021.